Today, Reps. Doggett, Welch, and Cummings unveiled new legislation with more than 60 original cosponsors to address the prescription drug affordability crisis: The Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act. In the 56 days since President Trump promised major price cuts were coming within just 14 days, one drug maker after another has done the opposite. Using the market power of Medicare to help address this price gouging is certainly not a new idea, but what is unique about this new legislation is how to make the negotiation process successful. Today, these members are offering the plan that Americans have been demanding: A bold approach to Medicare negotiation that harnesses the government's purchasing power and relies on market-driven competition to restrain monopoly pricing.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) said, "It's time to put patients over price-gouging. Negotiation, bidding, competition--a truly American way to get Americans affordable drug prices, to stop putting America last. Our replacement would authorize Medicare to negotiate reasonable prices much as the Veterans Administration already does. This bill calls the President's bluff on his drug pricing promises. It would give him the very bidding authority to save billions that he promised and back that authority up with the power of good ol' American competition through competitive licensing. Patients cannot wait."
"It defies logic that the federal government is not using its enormous purchasing power to get a better deal for seniors on prescription drugs. Paying retail prices for wholesale purchases is absurd. It's long past time we put an end this sweetheart deal for Big Pharma and provide urgently needed relief to seniors and taxpayers," said Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont).
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) said, "We have a President who talks tough on lowering drug prices, but the day his pricing plan came out, drug company stocks went up. Why? Because they know his plan is not the real deal. It does not make the big change he promised--allowing Medicare to negotiate. As long as we live in a world where drug companies can arbitrarily pick and choose which drugs to jack up in price and which ones to lower as a symbolic gesture, it is the pharmaceutical industry that is winning. Families can no longer be at the mercy of drug companies. We need systemic reform, and this bill would provide it."
This legislation is backed by more than 60 Democratic cosponsors, and endorsed by the organizations below:
Public Citizen, Social Security Works, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Consumers Union, Families USA, Patients for Affordable Drugs, Community Catalyst, AFSCME, American Federation of Teachers, Small Business Majority, CREDO, Consumer Action, Health Care for America Now (HCAN), UNITE HERE!, National Physicians Alliance, American Medical Students Association, Daily Kos, People's Action, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, ACT UP New York, Progressive Democrats of America, People of Faith for Access to Medicines, Clinicians for Progressive Care, Physicians for a National Health Program, People Demanding Action, Business Initiative for Health Policy